Israel had asked for a king “like all the other nations have”, and God gave them a man who looked every bit a king: “the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land”. But his heart was not in it: after being anointed, and filled by God’s Spirit, he hides because he does not want what God has chosen for him. He sets out to do what God wants, but always thinks he has a better plan. Now God has rejected him. Saul is now so intent on holding onto power that Samuel is in fear of his life if he does what God asks of him. (Interestingly, God does not contradict that: a man who thinks he knows better than God is inherently dangerous.)
This experiment in following the world’s pattern for leadership has been a sad failure.
Now God chooses a king His way. He doesn’t choose any of Jesse’s sons who look like such obvious choices. “The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” He chooses Jesse’s youngest son, seemingly so insignificant that his own father
leaves him out in the field with the sheep. Yet he has a heart for God and that changes everything.
What strikes me from this?
Having my heart aligned with God’s heart is more important than anything else. As that happens, I need to think about people in the same way he does: looking at the heart before outward appearances.
As the election comes closer we will be presented with many politicians trying to look like obvious choices (like Saul) using sound bites, spin, and image to look like Australia’s leaders. I need to pray and vote for leaders with hearts for God (like David). And this will require real insight from God, as it did with Samuel.
Written by David Cornell